Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 09:53
We have stayed out the whole Gabby Douglas hair discussion because we did not believe that the original story was actually news. For us, The Daily Beast created their own news to draw attention to their site, increase traffic and in turn increase ad revenue. We will never understand how some random Tweets and facebook posts from people no one has ever heard of (and maybe they were fictional people/accounts so the reporter could quote them and create outrage over these tweets and facebook postings) is news?
What is interesting though is the fact that the hair debate is still being discussed in the mainstream media. Here is just a sample from today’s headlines:
“African-American women talk about embracing their naturally textured hair” – Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York)
“Examining the black hair obsession” – The News Journal/Delware Online
“Black hair and the Olympics: Musing on the good, the fab, the pretty – and black hair obsession as a cultural fact” - The Grio/NBC News
In fact this discussion how also gone international. Here is just a taste of one headline:
“Gabby’s great hair debate heats up” – Trinidad & Tabago Express
We know the hair issue is one that will probably never go away. But what is truly interesting to us is that the focus of these stories always seem to trivialize and make fun of how African American women feel about hair.
We wrote earlier in the year how we believed that the public relations attempt by the Bronner Brothers to have the Surgeon General attend their hair show and create a whole new stereotype that African American women don’t exercise because of their hair was ridiculous and harmful to African American women. A few months later as Gabby Douglas was becoming the first American woman to win team and individual gold in the Olympics (the real news) we somehow allowed the "media" to flip the script and report that African Americans felt Gabby’s hair didn’t look good enough while competing (exercising). Does anyone else see the conflict in these two story lines?
At some point we should realize that these stories by the media about African Americans and “their hair" are nothing but attempts to create “conflict” and sell ad space. If these same media organizations and/or journalists actually were interested in real issues that surround “hair”, then they would be digging deeper and asking questions about the health risks women face by using relaxers when pregnant. Or asking why hasn’t anyone looked into the long term health issues of exposure to the chemicals used in these hair products? Yet those real issues are not the discussions we see.
We hope that our readers will start forcing those type of real discussions and stop feeding into the “conflict hair stories” the media creates to sell ad space.